The Rap on Rap.

Essay by bkobraCollege, Undergraduate October 2005

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"You're looking at a guy who teaches inner-city kids and who is telling you face to face that he has problems with kids based upon the rap music" (Bill O'Reilly, "The O'Reilly factor"). American TV and radio talk show host Bill O'Reilly along with many other media outlets have heavily criticized rap artists for glorifying violence and promoting bad behavior. Critics argue that kids listening to rap music will adopt their 'gangsta' personas, demote women, and adopt bad behavior. However, musicians sing or write songs about their experiences and rappers are not any different. The content of rap music is assembled through a rapper's connection with their geographic environment. Rappers defend themselves by claiming that rap is an art form and they rap on what they see and the harsh realities they face everyday in their geographic environment. Rappers are also able to financially support their friends and families and create jobs within the struggling community.

However, because of the lack of opportunities in that environment, participation in activities like drug dealing and gangs has increased. My objective is to explore how spaces, regional divisions, and communities influence rap artists and by doing this I will attempt to answer why rappers include lyrics that promote bad behavior in their songs. The paper examines the effects of all these on the contents of rap.

Hip hop has been built through the relationship with their environment. In both past and present, local places have shaped and influenced rap artists. 'Tagging' in the neighborhood was also linked closely to the development of Hip Hop in different areas and territories. Tagging is the practice of using markers or spray paint to write one's name on public property (Forman 2000, p25). In the early days, hip hop culture always maintained local ties and an element...